Walton Neurological Centre state-of-the-art upgrade given go ahead

A steate of the art upgrade of Liverpool's Walton Neurological Centre was given the go-ahead by city planners.

A new three storey unit will include an expanded Neuro rehab unit and a new centre for the UK-leading pain management programme.

New wards, two operating theatres and a Clinical Trials Unit are also being built within the existing building where doctors hope to be able to make advances in the treatment of brain and spinal injuries.

The bid was given the go-ahead at yesterday's planning meeting.

Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Dr Liz Mear said: "This is the biggest building project we have undertaken since The Walton Centre opened and it will make a huge difference to our patients and our staff.

"It will help us to achieve our aims of providing innovative, caring services and carrying out pioneering research to advance our knowledge of neuroscience.

"At the moment we are constantly working at full capacity and we need to expand in order to treat all the patients who need our services."

This building programme will provide much-needed extra beds and operating space.

The centre opened in 1992 and soon forged a reputation as one of the leaders in the field of treatment and research of brain and spinal injuries.

But the expansion of its activities and services has put increasing strain on resources and staff, increasing the need for new facilities.

Medical director Dr Peter Enevoldson added: "The NHS in Merseyside and Cheshire has agreed to make our neuro rehabilitation service its specialist centre for rehabilitation across the region, recognising the quality of its expertise and care.

"However our current unit, though it provides excellent outcomes for patients, is neither big enough nor does it have the modern facilities we need.

"We are all very excited about the future and we are looking forward to this expansion in order to support the excellent specialist treatment and research carried out by our dedicated teams."

The pain management unit will move to the Aintree campus until the new building is completed in 2014.